Tag Archives: change

It’s Only Temporary

Does transience render all things meaningless?

I sometimes ask myself that.

But that would be the fatalist way to live, and I’m not inclined to think that way either.

So I make a choice.

I choose to see change and impermanence as pre-requisites for growth, for discovery, for connection. For meaning. Far from meaningless.

And because there are days and moments when it may be harder to remember this choice, to remember that impermanence is not cruel but can be beautiful, that change is not overwhelming but can be growth-inducing –  that’s when writing posts like these help.

The Other Side Of Empowerment

Not too long ago, as I worked on the client report which was eventually submitted as course requirements, one of the themes explored upon was that of Empowerment.

The World Bank defines empowerment as the “process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes”.  (source)

In the days after submission, as I struggled with making sense of change in a changing world, I began to realise that perhaps there is another aspect to empowerment which we may have failed to focus on.

When we talk of empowering youth through education, women through opportunities, people with disabilities through skill-building – have we neglected the fact that a world in which we have absolute control over does not exist?

Is there a danger of “over-empowering”; such that the individual begins to believe that anything they want is possible, that more choice is a good thing, and is then at risk of becoming severely disappointed when the choices they make or want to make do not play out as they should?

Isn’t it necessary, then, that while we talk of empowerment and expansion of opportunities and experiences and development of skills, we also focus on building inner resilience, acceptance, stoicism, lest the very ones we hope to empower become the most fragile to setbacks and disappointments?

Thinking back on the days as an educator, we were constantly told to “celebrate small victories”, to provide opportunities “to experience success”. Anything good was to be highlighted, anything less than that was not to be mentioned, so that they would not become a source of disappointment and despondency. The goal was to empower students to believe they could “do it”. But, wouldn’t the results risk developing individuals who only cherish success and view anything less than “perfect” as shameful, belittling of their status as a human being?

Is that true empowerment? Surely not. I imagine, to be truly empowered is to believe in the Self as an authentic entity, with all it’s imperfections and perfections.. To accept the fragility, resilience, ugliness and beauty of life, yet to strive on nonetheless, seeing the all in all.

At least, that’s my two cents worth.

Change is Nothing But The Flowing of the River

I realise I’ve been feeling apprehensive because I’ve been placing too much focus on Change. I’ve been telling myself: It’s happening! Change is going to happen! You must prepare yourself for it!

Although the efforts were aimed at reducing fear of change, it has unfortunately made me more apprehensive. Just like how people asked not to think about a white polar bear will think about nothing else but a white polar bear.

I think, not viewing the impending Move as a huge Change would be one way of alleviating these apprehensions. Don’t think of it as a Huge Thing, a New Beginning, or any other labels we humans love to give to milestone events. Life was never meant to be compartmentalized and boxed. It’s a river, an ocean – flowing, blending, moving, constant. Beautiful. Not with lines and boxes of black and white.

Go with the flow, and enjoy the journey.

Let go, and gain control.

Think beyond myself, and find out who I am.

Disappearing Stories

The stories come,
Slowly at first.
Then widening, bursting,
into rivers of memories.

An article, a report.
The latest projects.
A new highway, a new line.
For development, convenience, growth.

The side effects:
Nostalgia becomes fashionable.
Old is hip, vintage is artistic.
Memories transform into profits.

Some stories are saved from oblivion,
But many slip away
from the shelves of memorabilia.
They simply

Reflections @ Kiasu Espresso

Saturday –  I used some of the alone-time to reflect on the daughter I am / have been.

I do not deny that as we get older, we naturally have our own circle of friends, activities, plans and schedules. So do my parents, and that’s a good thing, because it means that they have a purpose in life beyond raising children and taking care of our every need.

However, it may also mean that we get to understand each other less, as we form our own lives, more and more apart from each other.

A few days ago, I got angry at my father who expressed certain views which differed from mine. Today, I got out of the house in a hurry because I found their conversations too noisy.

I questioned myself: By escaping like this, does it solve the problems? Obviously not.

If I think about it carefully, I realise I have 2 main options:

1. Make more effort to make them understand me

2. Make more effort to understand them

And since I am not the sort of person who goes around imposing my thoughts and views on others (for fear of more rejection, ridicule or otherwise), I suppose the best thing for me to do would be to make more effort to understand them, where they are coming from,  why they may behave in certain ways (like speaking about mundane things super loudly, which really gets on my nerves at times), or say certain things (like discouraging travel and putting it across as one of the most dangerous activities in the world).

As Gandhi said, “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.” Before we judge and condemn, we ought to examine ourselves and see if we have made the effort to understand first.

Growing old is never easy. And as I do not think I was a very easy child growing up (throwing moody tantrums, crying for no reason, refusing to participate in school activities, even refusing to go to school for a period of time!), I suppose it is only fair that I get my share of challenges now and in future.

I just hope that I will have the mental strength and capacity to do all I need to do, and still love as I have been loved.

Change Again

Gone are the days when the place was quiet, filled with only a few wandering souls who sought respite, in a home away from home.

When the only conversations which took place were those between close friends or couples, as undertones to french music lingering in the air.

When sunlight could stream in from the windows, unhindered, unblocked, and the wooden floor only groaned periodically from the occasional pressure of human feet.


When I stepped in yesterday, the place was filled with large groups, chattering and laughing loudly. The waiters, who used to leisurely serve us with a smile, now looked harried and stressed. The tables, which once looked welcoming and inviting, now felt like battle grounds, as patrons snatched prime spots as soon as one was vacated.

Is this, sadly, just another consequence of development and progress? Something we have to accept, as a trade-off for having the place around? For, if there were no visitors, no crowd, who knows – they would not have survived this long.

And so with rents as high as they are here, it seems like the only places that can survive are those that do a bustling business. What will happen to those which offer quiet and peace, then?

I think of the other places which I frequent more now, for that peace and quiet, and I pray that they can survive long enough, even without the need for Change to come knocking on their doors.